Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice Action

CPLR 214(6) provides that “ an action to recover damages for malpractice, other than medical, dental or podiatric malpractice, regardless of whether the underlying theory is based in contract or tort ” must be commenced within 3 years.
 
The cause of action for malpractice accrues at the time of the act, error or omission. See, Julian v. Carrol, 270 AD2d 457 [2d Dept. 2000]; Goicoechea v. Law Offices of Stephen Kihl, 234 AD2d 507 [2d Dept. 1996]; Shumsky v. Eisenstein, 96 NY2d 164 [2001].
 
The Court of Appeals has held that a cause of action for legal malpractice accrues against the attorney when the statute of limitations expires on the underlying action for which the attorney was retained. See, Shumsky v. Eisenstein, supra. In Burgess v. Long Island Railroad Authority, 79 NY2d 777 [1991], the Court of Appeals held:
 
The Continuous Representation Toll of a Legal Malpractice Action
The accrual of the three-year statute of limitations is tolled during the period of the lawyer’s continuous representation in the same matter out of which the malpractice arose under the theory that the client should not be expected to question the lawyer’s advice while he is still representing the client. See, Lamellen v. Kupplungbau GmbH v. Lerner, 166 AD2d 505 [2d Dept. 1990]; Shumsky v. Eisenstein, supra. Under the continuous representation doctrine, there must be clear indicia of an ongoing, continuous, developing, and dependent relationship between the client and the lawyer. See, Kanter v. Pieri, 11 AD3d 912 [4 Dept. 2004]; Lamellen v. Kupplungbau GmbH v. Lerner, supraClark v. Jacobsen, 202 AD2d 466 [2 Dept. 1994].
by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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What the Seller of a Cooperative Apartment Should Know

The owner of an apartment (also referred to as a “unit”) in a cooperative apartment building (“co-op”) must be aware of several matters relating to the sale of the unit.

1. Transferability

Most unit owners are permitted to sell their unit to anyone they choose. However, the owner should be aware of any special rules relating to the sale of the unit to others such as restrictions on shares or rights of first refusal.

2. Pay-off of mortgage

If the unit owner has borrowed money, using the co-op unit as collateral, then a “pay-off” statement should be ordered from the lender. Also, unlike a mortgage upon real estate, the lender or its representative must be present at the closing (because the lender has typically taken the actual shares of stock and proprietary lease into its possession at the time of the loan).

3. Liens/judgments

If there are any liens against the unit owner, ranging from tax liens to judgments to home equity lines, those liens must be paid at or before the closing. The buyer’s attorney will send a judgment/lien search to the seller to identify any such liens to be cleared.

4. Flip taxes

Some co-ops impose a “flip tax” or transfer charge upon the seller of a unit. These flip taxes can be based upon a percentage of the sale price, flat amount, percentage based upon the difference between the original purchase price and the sale price, or some other computation. The unit owner should find out what those flip taxes will be before selling the unit in order to ensure that the sale price will cover the flip tax, along with any other charges or liens to be paid at the closing.

5. Original documents

Unless the unit owner has a lender, who is holding the shares of stock and proprietary lease in escrow, then the owner must locate and produce the originals. If they have been lost, duplicate originals can be drawn.

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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Debt Collection Tips: Docketing the Judgment

Once the creditor has obtained a Judgment from a court, the collection process has now begun.  In the context of collecting the money due on the Judgment, it may be necessary to “docket” the Judgment in the County Clerk’s Office.

In each county of the State, there is a court of general jurisdiction called the “Supreme Court.”  In some counties, towns, cities, and villages, there are lower courts (such as Civil Court, District Court, etc.).  Judgments entered in those courts are not automatic liens upon any realty that the debtor may own in the county.  Rather, a “Transcript of Judgment” must be obtained from the court and filed with the County Clerk to create the lien.  Once docketed, the Transcript of Judgment will serve as notice to others that there is a lien upon any realty owned by the debtor; other parties are now aware that the lien must be paid according to its priority.

Judgments entered in a Supreme Court case are automatically docketed with the County Clerk.

Unlike New Jersey or some other states, which have state-wide recognition, the Judgment must be docketed by the filing of a Transcript of Judgment in each county in which the debtor has realty in order to create the lien.

The docketing of a Judgment is also essential when attempting to issue an Income Execution to a County Sheriff in another county (where, perhaps, the employer of a debtor is located).  Another purpose of docketing a Judgment may be where the Judgment was entered in federal District Court and the creditor wants to use a Sheriff instead of a United States Marshall.

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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